Holding Operational Commando

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Holding Operational Commando
Private E.F. Abrahams, from Pennyfields, London E14, was a member of the original Commando Association.
Commando Association Lost Legions List 3.

BAILEY, Arthur Charles

1 Special Service (Commando) Brigade

Gunner Arthur Bailey was found dead on Westhampnett Lane Chichester, a road leading to Goodwood.  Ambulance men at the scene found that he had fractured his skull and it was later ascertained that he had fallen from a lorry in which he was a passenger.


Holding Operational Commando
Served on the staff at the H.O.C. Wrexham as the Heavy Weapons Instructor for 'S' Troop.
[Source: Commando Association newsletter 42 issued 1966].

BYE, Francis Clifford Edward

Holding Operational Commando
3 Cdo. Bde. RM
Lieutenant Francis Clifford Edward Bye served in the Holding Operational Commando in April 1945 [1].
  • May 1966 to July 1967 Commanding Officer 45 Commando [2].
  • 1 January 1968 (Lieutenant Colonel) appointed O.B.E. (Military Division) [3].
[1] See Linked Content below.
[2] Four Five, The Story of 45 Commando RM, author David Young.
[3] London Gazette 44484, page 6.

CHARLTON, Thomas Albert

Holding Operational Commando

Private Thomas Albert Charlton served in the Holding Operational Commando (HOC).  Post war he served as a Lieutenant in the Federation of Malaya Police Force.  Police Lieutenant Charlton was awarded the George Medal on the 24th April 1951 for his gallantry whilst serving in the Malay Police.
He was later killed in action during a bandit ambush in South Johor on the 5th May 1954.
Citation for the George Medal

CRESSWELL, Thomas Anthony

Holding Operational Commando

Private Thomas Cresswell died overseas and is buried in Germany.  The headstone at his grave states, "First on the rope. A beloved son. Died in life saving attempt." 

CWGC main entry and headstone file.
The CWGC entry records his secondary unit as "Formerly Holding Operational Commando. 

DALY, Thomas

Thomas Daly 12 Commando
No 12 Commando
Holding Operational Commando

Thomas Daly served in No.12 Commando HQ from April 1941 and after No.12 was disbanded on the staff at the Holding Operational Commando until April 1946.
Read more in Linked Content below.

EARWAKER, Ernest Frederick John

Ernest Earwaker 41 RM Commando
41RM Commando
Dec. 1942: Temp. 2nd Lieut. 101st RM Brigade HQ. 
Feb. 1943: Temp. 2nd Lieut. 101st RM Brigade HQ (Bde. Quartermaster) O.C. Defence Platoon.
Apr. 1943: Temp. Lieut. 101st RM Brigade HQ (Bde. Quartermaster) O.C. Defence Platoon.
Aug. 1943: 44RM Commando.
Apr. 1944: 41RM Commando.
Jun. 1944: 41RM Commando.

FREEMAN, John Haughton

Major John Freeman SAUDF
48RM Commando
Major John Freeman, S.A.U.D.F. was attached to 48RM Commando HQ during the Normany invasion [1]. He received a Mention in Despatches for good services while operating with the Army in NW Europe [2].
October 1944 Holding Operational Commando [3].
12 February 1946 apppointed M.B.E. (Military Division) [4].
[1] The Story of 48RM Commando (published 1946).
[2] London Gazette 37023, page 1895 published 10 April 1945.

HURST, Arthur

Commando Basic Training Centre
Holding Operational Commando
Post war member of the Commando Association from Leicester.
[Source: Commando Association newsletter 36 issued March 1963].

MACALPINE, Ian Ferguson

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Ferguson Macalpine
No 6 Commando
Private Ian Ferguson Macalpine was commissioned Lieutenant on 22 June 1940  [1].
  • 18 August 1942 promoted War Substantive Major [2].
  • 18 August 1942 promoted Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, OC No.6 Commando [2].
  • November 1942 (Operation Torch North Africa) hospitalised with heart problems during the battle for Green Hill [3].


Commando Basic Training Centre
Holding Operational Commando
Fusilier Bill Magennis served in the Pipe Band at Achnacarry, and in the HOC. 
Extract from Commando Association newsletter 40 issued March 1965
Now Pipe Major of the lst Bn. Black Watch (R.H.R.) of Canada and stationed at Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick is ex Fus. Bill Magennis who served in the Commando Pipe Band at Achnacarry.
Commando Association newsletters 40, 53, 77, 81, 83, 89.

MCGONIGAL, Ambrose Joseph

Ambrose McGonigal MC
No 12 Commando
Lieutenant Ambrose McGonigal was awarded the M.C. [1] for distinguished service during a raid on the enemy held island of Sark on the night of the 27th December 1943. This was a reconnaissance operation to obtain certain information and if possible capture a prisoner. Very soon after landing the raiding party inadvertently entered a minefield and the resultant explosions killed one member of the party and badly injured a second. Whilst evacuating from the minefield a further 4 mines exploded killing the already injured man, and wounding Lt. McGonigal and 2 others.

PARSONS, James, M.

Holding Operational Commando

Post war member of the Commando Association. Vice Chairman of their General Committee from 1997 to 1999, and Chairman 1999/2000.


Commando Association newsletters 104, 106, 108, 109, 110, 111.

SILLITOE, Frederick Roy

42 Cdo. RM
Lieutenant Frederick Sillitoe was serving at the RM Holding Commando in April 1945 [1].
  • 1956 (Captain) (42 Commando RM) Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in operations at Suez between October and December [2].

TERRY, Bernard

Private Bernard Terry was killed in a car accident in the UK.

CWGC Grave Registration Report Form shows "Holding Op. Cmd."
Westminster Abbey Commando ROH database gives cause of death. National Archives DEFE/2/843.

WOOLLEY, Arthur Rupert (Lt. Col)

30 Commando Assault Unit
Arthur Woolley joined the Royal Marines on 1 December 1939 and after his basic training was posted to the 5th Batallion Royal Marines Brigade.
  • Promoted Temporary Captain April 1940, Acting Temporary Major November 1941, and Second in Command of 5RM in June 1942.
  • After a brief spell as OC No.2 Landing Group Beach Unit he returned as Major (Second in Command) of 5RM which, by this time, had been redesignated as 45RM Commando. 

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